Community Support Initiative – Free UCSF Ophthalmology Shelter Clinic

April 25, 2024

The UCSF Ophthalmology Shelter Clinic, operating within Division Circle Navigation Center (DCNC), is seeking funding support through All May See Foundation, to enhance our ongoing efforts in providing essential eye care services to the unhoused population at DCNC. Their mission is to eliminate barriers to eye care for the underserved and to prevent avoidable vision loss through early detection and treatment. To achieve this mission, they are seeking funding to acquire crucial ophthalmic equipment and sustain the clinic’s operations, ensuring that every individual we serve has the opportunity for better vision and quality of life.

Background and Need
Vision impairment and eye diseases disproportionately affect unhoused people, impacting their ability to secure employment, navigate the environment safely, and engage in community activities. Our clinic operates monthly and offers comprehensive eye examinations, treatments, and referrals, all at no cost to the patients.

The need for specialized, portable ophthalmic equipment is critical in our setting, enabling us to provide accurate diagnoses and treatments that would otherwise be inaccessible to our patients due to financial, transportation, and social barriers. Furthermore, the daily consumables and minor equipment like eye drops and reading glasses are essential in managing common conditions that significantly affect this vulnerable population’s quality of life.

To purchase a portable slit lamp and a portable nonmydriatic fundus camera, enhancing our diagnostic capabilities to include a wider range of eye conditions.

  • To sustain the clinic’s operations by ensuring a steady supply of essential consumables such as office supplies, artificial tears, and minor equipment like reading glasses.
  • To continue offering comprehensive ophthalmology services free of charge to the homeless population, including eye examinations, treatment, and referrals as necessary.

Project Description
Our project involves two main components: the acquisition of portable ophthalmic equipment and the support for ongoing clinic operations.

  1. Equipment Purchase:
  • A portable slit lamp will allow us to examine the anterior segment of the eye in detail, crucial for diagnosing conditions like conjunctivitis, corneal ulcers, and cataracts.
  • A portable nonmydriatic fundus camera will enable retinal imaging without the need for dilation, essential for screening and managing diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and other retinal pathologies. This instrument will also allow us to screen a much larger number of individuals per session.
  1. Clinic Operations:
  • Consumables: Including but not limited to artificial tear eye drops, eye drops for various conditions, like allergic conjunctivitis, and environmental irritation (which are common in the patient population we serve in the shelter) and office and cleaning supplies.
  • Minor Equipment: Reading glasses in various strengths, eye patches, and other low-cost aids.

Impact to Date
Since re-opening in November 2023, the UCSF Ophthalmology Shelter Clinic has served 48 unique patients, providing comprehensive eye exams, treatment for acute conditions, and preventive education. Of these, 32 patients were referred to Project Homeless Connect for prescription eyeglasses, and 10 patients were referred to San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH) for more advanced care. These numbers showcase the critical need and positive impact of our services within the homeless community.

The total funding needed to support this effort is $14,000

Support the UCSF Ophthalmology Shelter Clinic
Visit the All May See Foundation donate page to help support this important initiative.

With this additional support, the UCSF Ophthalmology Shelter Clinic will significantly enhance its capacity to serve the homeless population with vital eye care services. This investment not only addresses the immediate needs of those we serve but also contributes to the broader goal of reducing barriers to healthcare and improving public health outcomes. We are committed to transparency, efficient use of resources, and maximizing the impact of every dollar received. Together, we can bring the gift of sight and hope to many more individuals in need.

Alejandra de Alba Campomanes, MD MPH
Professor of Ophthalmology
University of California, San Francisco
Faculty Sponsor and co-founder UCSF Ophthalmology Shelter Clinic